Decommissioning to go ahead for small Swiss research reactor

2 April 2019

Switzerland’s Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) has confimed that the small 2kW AGN-211-P research reactor at the University of Basel will be dismantled in 2020.

The facility began operation in 1959 and was last operated in October 2013. It was used to train more than 1000 physics and chemistry students in the application and manipulation of radioactivity.

The request for dismantling of the research reactor was submitted in February 2017. The Basel City government has set aside a sum of CHF10 million ($10 million) to finance the decommissioning work.

The University of Basel bought the research reactor with federal government support. It was originally based at Atomium of the Brussels World Fair in 1958. The enriched uranium fuel from the reactor was repatriated to the USA in 2015. The thirteen fuel elements weighing 2.2kg are now at the Savannah River Site, South Carolina.  

ENSI said decommissioning is subject to approval and that the university must submit a safety report and plans for radiation protection before work can begin.

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